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Events preceding but pertinent to the French Revolution
- The Enlightenment, which led to many European writers criticising the Monarchy and espousing democratic, liberalist, nationalist and socialist ideas.
- War of Austrian Succession - which caused the French monarchy to fall heavily into debt.
- Start of Seven Years' War - which caused the situation to become increasingly more serious.
- Louis XVI dismisses his finance minister, Turgot
- Start of the American War of Independence (1776-1783)
- France declares war against Britain in support of the American colonies - the subsequent war worsens the debt situation further.
- Treaty of Paris ends the American War - the success of the American colonists against a European power increases the ambitions of those wishing for reform in France
Financial crisis and Assembly of Notables
- August 20: Finance minister Calonne informs Louis that the royal finances are insolvent
- December 29: The Assembly of Notables is convoked
- February 22: First Assembly of Notables meets against a background of state financial instability and general resistance by the nobility to the imposition of taxes and fiscal reforms.
- March: Calonne's publication of his proposals and the intransigence of the Notables leads to a public clash and impasse
- April 8: Louis dismisses both Calonne and the keeper of the seals, or minister of justice, Miromesnil, in an attempt to break the impasse
- April 13: Louis appoints Lamoignon keeper of the seals
- April 30: The Archbishop of Toulouse and vocal leader of the higher clergy, Loménie de Brienne is appointed chief minister of state
- May 25: The first Assembly of Notables is dissolved
- June: Brienne sends edicts for tax reform legislation to the parlements for registration
- July 2: Parlement of Paris overwhelmingly rejects the royal legislation
- August 6: Legislation passed at a lit de justice. Subsequently the parlement declares the registration was illegal. Supported by public opinion, it initiates criminal proceedings against the disgraced Calonne
- August 15: Louis dismisses the Parisian parlement and orders the parlementaires to remove themselves to Troyes
- August 19: Louis orders the closure of all political clubs in Paris
- September: Civil uprest in the Dutch republic leads to its invasion by the Prussian army, and increases tensions in Paris. Brienne backs down with his legislative demands, settling for an extension of the vingtième tax, and the parlementaires are allowed to return to Paris.
- November 19: A royal session of the Paris parlements for registration of new loans turns into an informal lit de justice when Louis doesn't allow a vote to be taken
- November 20: The vocal opposition of the duc d'Orléans leads to his temporary exile by lettres de cachet, and the arrest and imprisonment of two magistrates
- May 6: Orders for the arrest of two Parisian parlementaires, d'Eprémesnil and Goislard, who are most implacably opposed to the government reforms, are issued; the parlement declares its solidarity with the two magistrates
- May 7: d'Eprémesnil and Goislard are imprisoned
- May 8: Judicial reforms partly abolishing the power of parlements to review legislation are forced through the parlements by Lamoignon in a lit de justice timed to coincide with military sessions
- June: Outcry over the enforced reforms ensues, and courts across France refuse to sit
- July 5: Brienne begins to consider calling an Estates-General
- August 8: After being informed that the royal treasury is empty, Brienne sets May 1 1789 as the date for the Estates-General in an attempt to restore confidence with his creditors
- August 16: Repayments on government loans stop, and the French government effectively declares bankruptcy
- Late August: Brienne resigns, and Jacques Necker replaces him as Minister of Finance; de Lomenie, Archbishop of Toulouse is made chief minister
- September: Necker releases those arrested for criticising Brienne's ministry, leading to a proliferation of political pamphlets
- September 14: Lamoignon resigns
- November: The relapse of the ban on political clubs leads to the establishment of the "Society of Thirty" in Paris
- November 6: Necker convenes a second Assembly of Notables to discuss the Estates-General
- December 12: The second Assembly of Notables is dismissed, having firmly refused to consider doubling the representation of the Third Estate
- December 27: Prompted by public controversy, Necker announces that the representation of the Third will be doubled, and that nobles and clergymen will be able to stand for the same
- January 24: The Estates-General is convoked for the first time since 1614
- April 27 - The Reveillon riots in Paris
Estates-General and Constituent Assembly
- May 5: Meeting of the Estates-General - voting to be by Estate, not by head
- May 28: The Third Estate (Tiers Etat) begins to meet on its own, calling themselves "communes" (commons)
- June 10: The Third Estate votes for the common verification of credentials, in opposition to the First Estate (the clergy) and the Second Estate (the aristocracy)
- June 13: Some priests from the First Estate choose to join the Third Estate
- June 17: The Third Estate (commons) declares itself to be the National Assembly
- June 20: Third Estate/National Assembly are locked out of meeting houses by royal decree; the Third Estate chooses to continue despite decree and decides upon a declarative vow, known as the "serment au Jeu de Paume" (The Tennis Court Oath), not to dissolve until the constitution has been established
- June 22: National Assembly meets in church of St Louis, joined by a majority of clergy
- June 23: Two companies of French guards mutiny in the face of public unrest. Louis XVI holds a Séance Royale, puts forward his 35-point program aimed at allowing the continuation of the three estates.
- June 24: 48 nobles, headed by the Duke of Orléans, side with the Third Estate. A significant number of the clergy follow their example.
- June 27: Louis recognises the validity of the National Assembly, and orders the First and Second Estates to join the Third.
- June 30: Large crowd storms left bank prison and frees mutinous French Guards
- July 1: Louis recruits more troops, among them many foreign mercenaries
- July 9: National Assembly reconstitutes itself as National Constituent Assembly
- July 11: Necker dismissed by Louis; populace sack the monasteries, ransack aristocrats' homes in search of food and weapons
- July 12: Camille Desmoulins announces the dismissal of Necker to the Paris crowd. The Prince de Lambesc appears at the Tuilleries with an armed guard - a soldier and civilian are killed.
- July 13: National Guard formed in Paris, of middle class men.
- July 14: Storming of the Bastille; de Launay, (the governor), Foulon (the Secretary of State) and de Flesselles (the then equivalent of the mayor of Paris), amongst others, are massacred.
- July 15: Lafayette appointed Commander of the National Guard.
- July 16: Necker recalled, troops pulled out of Paris
- July 17: The beginning of the Great Fear, the peasantry revolt against feudalism and a number of urban disturbances and revolts. Many members of the aristocracy flee Paris to become émigrés.
- July 18: Publication of Desmoulins' La France libre favouring a republic and arguing that revolutionary violence was justified.
- July 27: Louis XVI accepts the tricolor cockade.
- August 4: Surrender of feudal rights : The August Decrees
- August 26 The Assembly adopts The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
- September 11 The National Assembly grants suspensive veto to Louis XVI; Louis fails to ratify the August acts of the National Assembly.
- October 5-6: Outbreak of the Paris mob; Liberal monarchical constitution; the Women's March on Versailles
- October 6 Louis XVI agrees to ratify the August Decrees, Palace of Versailles stormed.
Louis and the National Assembly move to Paris.
- November 2: Church property nationalised and otherwise expropriated
- November: First publication of Desmoulins' weekly Histoire des Révolutions ...
- December: National Assembly ddistinguishes between 'active' (monied) and 'passive' (property-less) citizens - only the active could vote
- December 12 Assignats are used as legal tender
- January: Former Provinces of France replaced by new administrative Departments.
- February 13 Suppression of monastic vows and religious orders
- March 5: Feudal Committee reports back to National Assembly, delaying the abolition of feudalism.
- March 29: Pope Pius condemns the Declaration of the Rights of Man in secret consistory.
- May National Assembly renounces involvement in wars of conquest.
- May 19 Nobility abolished by the National Assembly.
- July 12 The Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Demands priests to take an oath of loyalty to the state, splitting the clergy between juring (oath-taking) and non-juring priests.
- July 14: The first Fete of Federation begins, celebrating the fall of the Bastille.
- July: Growing power of the clubs (including: Cordeliers, Jacobin Club)
- July: Reorganisation of Paris
- August 16 The parlements are abolished
- September: Fall of Necker
- January 30: Mirabeau elected President of the Assembly
- February 28: Day of Daggers; Lafayette orders the arrest of 400 armed aristocrats at the Tuileries Palace
- March 2: Abolition of trade guilds
- March 10: Pope Pius condemns the Civil Constitution of the Clergy
- April 2: Death of Mirabeau
- April 13: Papal bull, Cavitas, condemning the Civil Constitution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is published
- April 18: Louis and Marie-Antoinette prevented from traveling to Saint-Cloud for Easter
- June 14: Le Chapelier law banning trade unions is passed by National Assembly
- June 20–25: Royal family's flight to Varennes
- June 25: Louis XVI forced to return to Paris
- July 10: Leopold II issues the Padua Circular calling on the royal houses of Europe to come to his brother-in-law, Louis XVI's aid.
- July 14: Second Anniversary of the fall of the Bastille is celebrated at the Champ de Mars - anti-Royalist demonstration, 50 killed by National Guard.
- July 15: National Assembly declares the king to be inviolable and he is reinstated.
- End of July: National Assembly declares the king to be inviolable and he is reinstated.
- August 14: Slave revolts in Saint Domingue (Haiti)
- August 27: Declaration of Pillnitz (Frederick William II and Leopold II)
- September 13–14: Louis XVI accepts the Constitution formally
- September 30: Dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly
- October 1: Legislative Assembly meets - many young, inexperienced, radical deputies.
- November 9 All emigrés are ordered by the Assembly to return under threat of death
- November 11 Louis vetoes the ruling of the Assembly on emigrés.
- January – March : Food riots in Paris
- February 7: Alliance of Austria and Prussia
- March 20: Guillotine adopted as official means of execution.
- April 20: France declares war against Austria
- April 25: Battle Hymn of the Army of the Rhine composed by Rouget de Lisle. First execution using the guillotine.
- April 28: France invades Austrian Netherlands (Belgium.
- July 5: Legislative Assembly declares that the fatherland is in danger.
- July 25: Brunswick Manifesto - if the French royal family is not harmed, then French civilians will not be harmed.
- July 30: Austria and Prussia begin invasion of France.
- July: The tricolor cockade made compulsory for men to wear. La Marseillaise sung by volunteers from Marseilles on their arrival in Paris.
- August 1: News of the Brunswick Manifesto reaches Paris - interpreted as proof that Louis XVI was collaborating with the foreign Coalition.
- August 9: Revolutionary commune took possession of the hôtel de ville.
- August 10–13: Storming of the Tuileries Palace. Swiss Guard massacred. Louis XVI of France is arrested and taken into custody, along with his family. Georges Danton becomes Minister of Justice]].
- August 16: Paris commune presents petition to the Legislative Assembly demanding the establishment of a revolutionary tribunal and summoning of a National Convention.
- August 19: Lafayette flees to Austria. Invasion of France by Coalition troops led by Duke of Brunswick
- August 22: Royalist riots in Brittany, La Vendée and Dauphiné.
- September 3: Fall of Verdun to Brunswick's troops.
- September 3–7: The September Massacres
- September 19: Dissolution of Legislative Assembly.
- September 20: First meeting of National Convention. French army stops advance of Coalition troops at Valmy.
- September 21: Abolition of royalty and proclamation of the First French Republic.
- September 22: First day of the French Revolutionary Calendar.
- December 3: Louis XVI brought to trial, appears before the National Convention (11 & 23 December). Robespierre argues that "Louis must die, so that the country may live".
- January 21: Louis XVI guillotined.
- March 7: Outbreak of rebellion against the Revolution in the Vendée.
- March 11: Revolutionary Tribunal established in Paris.
- April 6: Committee of Public Safety established.
- June 2: Arrest of Girondist deputies to National Convention by Jacobins.
- June 10: Jacobins gain control of the Committee of Public Safety.
- June 24: Ratification of new Constitution by National Convention, but not yet proclaimed.
- July 13: Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday.
- July 17: Robespierre elected to Committee of Public Safety.
- July 28: Convention proscribes 21 Girondist deputies as enemies of France.
- August 23: Levée en masse (conscription) order.
- September 5: Start of Reign of Terror.
- September 9: Establishment of sans-culottes paramilitary forces - revolutionary armies.
- September 17: Law of Suspects passed.
- September 29: Convention extends the fixing of prices and wages.
- October 10: 1793 Constitution comes into force.
- October 16: Marie Antoinette guillotined.
- October 21: An anti-clerical law passed, priests and supporters liable to death on sight.
- October 24: Trial of the 21 Girondist deputies by the Revolutionary Tribunal.
- October 31: The 21 Girondist deputies guillotined.
- November 3: Olympe de Gouges, champion of rights for women, guillotined for Girondist sympathies.
- November 8: Madame Roland guillotined as part of purge of Girondists.
- November 10: Celebration of the Goddess of Reason at Cathedral of Notre Dame which was re-dedicated as the Temple of Reason.
- December: First issue of Desmoulins' Le Vieux Cordelier.
- December 23: Anti-Republican forces in the Vendée finally defeated and 6000 prisoners executed.
- February: Final 'pacification' of the Vendée - mass killings, scorched earth policy.
- March 13: Last edition of Jacques Hébert's Le Père Duchesne produced.
- March 19: Hébert and his supporters arrested.
- March 24: Hébert and leaders of the Cordeliers guillotined.
- March 28: Death of philosopher and mathematician Marquis de Condorcet in prison.
- March 30: Danton, Desmoulins and their supporters arrested.
- April 5: Danton and Desmoulins guillotined.
- May 8: Antoine Lavoisier, chemist, guillotined as traitor.
- June 7: National Convention, led by Robespierre, passes decree to establish a Supreme Being.
- June 8: Festival of the Supreme Being.
- June 10: Law of 22 Prairial - the Revolutionary Tribunal became a court of condemnation without the need for witnesses.
- June 26: French forces defeat Austrians at the Battle of Fleurus.
- July 25: André Chenier, poet, guillotined for conspiring against the Revolution.
- July 27-28: Night of 9-10 Thermidor - Robespierre arrested, guillotined without trial, along with other members of the Committee of Public Safety. End of the Reign of Terror.
- Latter half of 1794: The White Terror - reaction against remaining Jacobins.
- November 11: Closure of Jacobin Club.
- May 31: Suppression of the Paris Revolutionary Tribunal.
- July 14: Marseillaise accepted as the French National Anthem.
- August 22: 1795 Constitution ratified - bicameral system, executive Directory of five.
- October 5: 13 Vendémiaire - Napoleon's "whiff of grapeshot" quells Paris insurrection.
- October 26: National Convention dissolved.
- March 5: War against the Holy Roman Empire
- March 9: Marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine
- May 10: Battle of Lodi (Napoleon in Italy)
- June 4: Beginning of the Siege of Mantua
- April 18: Preliminary Peace of Leoben
- July 8: Cisalpine Republic established
- September 4: Coup d'état of 18 Fructidor revives Republican measures
- October 17: Treaty of Campo Formio
- February: Roman Republic proclaimed
- April: Helvetian Republic proclaimed
- May 11: Law of 22 Floréal Year VI - Council elections annulled, left wing deputies excluded from Council.
- July 21: Battle of the Pyramids
- August 1: Battle of the Nile - Nelson's victory isolates Napoleon in Egypt.
- December 24: Alliance between Russia and Britain
- June 17–19: Battle of the Trebia (Suvorov defeats French)
- June 18: Coup of 30 Prairial Year VII - removed Directors, left Sieyès as dominant figure in government.
- August 24: Napoleon leaves Egypt.
- October 9: Napoleon returns to France
- October 22: Russians withdraw from coalition
- November 9: The Coup d'Etat of 18 Brumaire: end of the Directory
- December 24: Constitution of the Year VIII: Leadership of Napoleon established under the Consulate. French Revolution may be considered finished.